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Thread: CN First Timers

  1. #1

    Default CN First Timers

    Hello to all...have been reading the posts to try to get an idea of what to expect on our first trip to CN. As a matter of fact, it is our first trip to an all-inclusive of any kind, and first trip to Jamaica. Unfortuantely, it is only a "short" trip, but we are looking forward to it none-the-less. Haven't managed to take time away for just the wife and I, but this time it is going to happen!!

    If there is any information you feel we "have to" know, please feel free to pass it on. It will be greatly appreciated!!

    If you are going to be there between 12/9 - 12/13, please keep and eye out for us (probably in the pool or on the beach!).

    Mr and Mrs banchi...

  2. #2

    Default CN is special

    Hi, first sign up for 'romance rewards' (read about it on this site)
    Make sure you make reservations at Otaheite as soon as you can - it's the only restaurant you need a reservation for.
    Go to watersports and sign up for the Catamaran cruise _ goes out at 3:30pm but only on certain days.
    Lobster night is Friday - need I say more? It is served in all the restaurants, so you can go from one to another. Sometimes, we go for the appetizer platter at Lychee, the main course at Heliconia (for my pasta) and then get a dessert, or two, from wherever looks good. Of course, by the time we've eaten all that, we ask for the dessert to go, and take it back to the room to put in the fridge for later, mmmm. If you can't decide what to do, just ask people when you get there, we're happy to give our input.
    Oh, and try the AN beach when you first arrive. If you pretend (like I do) that you've done it before then no one will be the wiser. It's very nice to have nothing between you and the sun on a gorgeous beach in Jamaica. Do like I do, grab a floatie, wrap it around yourself and head for an AN dip in the ocean. You'd be surprised to find the number of people who swim over from the 'textile' side of the beach, disrobe underwater, and then giggle because they feel like they're being naughty. They're not, weren't we born that way?
    Best of all, don't try to do too much, it'll just stress you out. Do what you feel like doing and just relax and enjoy. You don't have to do it all this trip because I guarantee you'll be back!

  3. #3


    You only need to know that you will LOVE LOVE LOVE CN! We will be there the same week as you and it is our 10th time there! It is "home" after the first day!

  4. #4


    Your first time and you're going to CN for a short stay.

    You're in for a huge disappointment. You will not have enough time to even come close to thinking about home. You won't have enough time to enjoy anything enough. You just won't have enough time, but you will be back.

    My GF and I did CN this year (Not our first AI) and we are already booked for CN next year.

    I'm guessing if I stayed for three weeks I just might remember that I had a home or that I missed something.

  5. #5

    Default Relax and Enjoy

    Welcome to the Couples family. The advice I have is to: SIT BACK, RELAX AND ENJOY. You will have a good time. The staff is wonderful and willing to help you. The food is amazing and the drinks aren't bad either. I have been going to CN now for over 8 yrs and every year it gets better. Please post your review when you come back. Enjoy.

  6. #6


    Take the Cat cruise-definitely! Try all the restaurants. Get into the"vibe of the place"- which is relax, no worries, no problems and finally just enjoy each other. Get excited -Oh, you are going to love it!

  7. #7


    You will have the vacation of a lifetime! From the moment we arrived on the property our first visit at CN it was like walking into a dream. My recommendations/info:
    -Take sunscreen; Bug spray (you'll need it for excursions)
    -Don't be surprised if your swim suits dont air dry in your room (humidity)
    -The staff if WONDERFUL and will go above and beyond to ensure your needs are met and that you enjoy yourself
    -If you decide to get a massage I suggest the treetop massage (very unique experience)
    -Keep reminding yourself when you're there that you are on "island time" and things slow down considerably, so relax

    And keep reading this message board, repeaters have lots of great tips and info

    You selected the perfect place for a vacation so don't worry, you'll have a great time!

  8. #8


    Thank you to all of you who responded!! We are definitely looking forward to our trip. Yes, I know it is only for a short stay, but it is out of necessity unfortunately. I am fully anticipating we will be booking a longer future trip based on what I anticipate and from what all of you have expressed.

    As for the shopping it worth it or can I get by with picking up some souveniers for the kids from the gift shops at the hotel and/or airport? I'm sure the wife would like to shop some, but it is not one of the priorities based on all the other options available. If it is a "must do" type thing, then we will schedule accordingly.

    Kaityogill.....Maybe we can meet up for a beverage (or two)!!


  9. #9


    If you like to dive or snorkel, sign up for those trips. I don't know about the weather in December, but in August we found that if we wanted to see underwater, we had to go snorkeling in the morning. It was often too choppy of cloudy in the afternoons. We certainly got up much earlier than we would normally do on a vacation, but when you get up to eat a great breakfast, snorkel, lounge on the beach, and sip drinks, it's certainly worth it! Also look into the night snorkeling. It's an extra $35 but both trips to CN, we found it worth it. It's a really neat experience.

    My advice for the first day is to go on one of their quick tours. It doesn't take long and it lets you know where everything is located - especially the couple of out of the way hot tubs.

    Whatever you do, you'll enjoy your trip. We're hoping to get back for the third time next summer...

  10. #10


    When you arrive (or the morning thereafter, depending on what time of day you arrive), sign up for all of the following that interest you:

    (1) Dinner at Otaheite -- worth doing. Dress appropriately -- there are threads on this topic and it's NOT hard to meet the "requirements"

    (2) Catamaran cruise -- it's free but you need to sign up. If you plan to jump off the cliff, do NOT drink heavily on the way out; you can imbibe on the return trip

    (3) Spa treatments -- agree that the treehouse is nice

    Then, sit back and RELAX. Some folks do the resort tour -- it's useful and quick but not necessary.

    Enjoy the experience -- this will NOT be your first time. Guaranteed.

  11. #11


    CN was our first AI Jan 2009. We were a little nervous as AI in Europe doesn't have the best reputation (I was thinking chips(fries) with everything and poor quality drinks). We were absolutley blown away, we have returned to the same place but never the same resort before and this time we had no hesitation, CN for our second AI in a little over 2 weeks. Everything about CN is lovely, beautiful grounds, breathtking beach, nice people (not loud and inappropriate in the wee hours!), fabulous and dedicated staff, relaxing and just wonderful. I understand that some people want the luxury holiday (marble/ gold leaf decor) you don't get that and to us that was why we were so comfortable so quickly.

    Food and drink are excellent (we travel with friends one who is veggie and there is always plenty to eat). the on resort and off excursions are great for breaking the day (don't bother unless you want the gardne tour and kitchen tour) as you have a short stay. Chat to the staff and really soak up the atmosphere. Have a wonderful time, and come again! (we wont see you as we leave on 7th December, but we will leave the resort all ready for you, promise!)

    Julie x

  12. #12


    As for the shopping it worth it or can I get by with picking up some souvenirs for the kids from the gift shops at the hotel and/or airport? I'm sure the wife would like to shop some, but it is not one of the priorities based on all the other options available. If it is a "must do" type thing, then we will schedule accordingly.

    When you are heading back home, you will have probably 1-2 hours at Sangster waiting to board your plane. After you have checked in and go through security, you can shop at quite a few stores in the newly remodeled airport. They did a wonderful job on the airport facilities and it's pretty much like any shopping mall you will find back home. They do have a gift shop at CN too but you will have an unlimited variety of items at the airport.
    We always use our Romance Reward cash at the gift shop but we also kill the 2 hour wait shopping at the airport prior to our flight. Just a hint, leave room in your carry on for these items.

  13. #13


    What I love best about vacationing at CN is the fact that there's no lag time in getting into vacation mode. You know, sometimes you take a vacation and it takes you a few days to get into it? Yeah, not here. It's instant! I start grinning from ear to ear once I hit the resort. The warmth of the sun, the beach, the hospitality...sigh. Next year can't come soon enough!

    As for shopping, we have gone across the street to the market (go with the resort scheduled outing, it helps to have other guests to distract the sellers - and be armed with a firm "no thank you") but we also find that the sellers who come on property (think it's on Mondays) offer us plenty. Buy your liquor at the airport, much, much cheaper!

    Oh and try the drink of the day, every day! Best way to try new things and find new favorites! We can never decide (the drink menu is l-o-n-g) so we start with the drink special and go from there.


  14. #14


    One evening as the sun sinks into the ocean go up to the swings in the lobby and watch the show while you swing with your sweetie. Another night as the sun sets, stand in the ocean arm in arm and promise your love to each other all over again. If you have the cash, do the private dinner one night in the tree house. It will be a very special time together. And night grab a bottle of champagne and glasses from the bar and head to your room and...(you know the rest)

    Most of all, enjoy and relax and be prepared to fall in love all over again.
    Juliann & Jeff
    Jamaica Soon Come

  15. #15


    You guys are all awesome!! Really appreciate all of the great advise!! Now, if it would just hurry up and get to "go time"!!

    If any of you plan on being there when we are, we would love to meet up and say "thanks" in person.


  16. #16


    Are you allowed to take an entire bottle of champagne to your room and if so, where on the resort would you get it?

  17. #17

    Default banchi

    You Bet! There are several I would recommend we start with! A nutty Jamaician is my favorite! UMMMMMM rum cream so addictive! I wouldn't go shopping with such a time crunch. They have some vendors by the grill and the gift shop has nice things. You can walk down to "the office of nature" for items too. Not too much to buy really. Do you scuba dive? Have you ever thought of trying it if not? They have a "discover scuba" morning class that I would highly suggest. Jamaica under the sea is the most beautiful and Sugar is an awesome teacher and it's free!

  18. #18


    kaity...I have scuba'd before, but never got certified. Wife is a little leary of the whole trapped underwater thing, but we discussed the possibility of doing the resort certification. If not, we will definitely do the snorkel thing (bringing our own for that).

    BTW...saw you are in Illinois...grew up in Miami (FL) but actually went to Parkland College in Champaign on a golf scholarship. A little too far from saltwater for me, but I enjoyed the 2 year visit. Haven't been there since '92.

  19. #19


    If you only have a few days, don't leave the resort to go shopping! You can shop on the resort at their gift shops or from friendly vendors on the beach. The airport (as someone already said) is a good bet. With limited time, I suggest soaking up the sun and your mate; leave the shopping for another time!

  20. #20


    As others have noted, CN invites local vendors on site 1-2 days during the week. They sell bags, clothing, jewelry and crafts . . . and will bargain. I've always bought a few things from them.

    The airport shopping is very nice and you'll have plenty of time. If you want to experience the craft market, go ahead. But it's not your only opportunity for shopping.

    Finally, the gift shop has some nice items, including logo clothing. Prices are reasonable and there are usually "sale" days.

    39 days to go and I'm already IN THE ZONE. Just saying. . . .

  21. #21


    Banchi, Yes, we are from the Quad Cities. It is VERY far from salt water! We fish all summer and that helps. I promise "Sugar" the instructor will put your wife at ease. He is the best teacher. We took the free course, fell in love with scuba, took the open water and advanced open water classes with him. Can't wait for that drink! Ya Mon!

  22. #22


    kaityogill...the whole idea of scuba diving in Illinois just cracked me up!! But having live there and Florida, I can say there are not as many dive shops, but many are better in Illinois than Florida!! Always seemed kind of odd to me how many divers lived there.

    Looking forward to the certification and getting uder the sea. Always been on my "bucket list", just never got around to it. Now we will!!

    Oh and by the way....27 days!!!!!!

    Never take life too'll never get out of it alive!!

  23. #23


    If you take the free scuba course and like it, get certified. Also, you have to try the night snorkeling experience. The combination of the 2 will have you so amped for your next trip to CN that you will want to dive the whole time.

  24. #24

    Default banchi

    There are TWO scuba shops where we live! They coordinate several trips each year. They offer classes and you have to go up by Chicago to Haigh quarry to certify. My daughter went that route so she could scuba right away on vacation. She said she could barely see her buddy!

  25. #25


    We'll be at CN 12/7-17/10 to celebrate our 7th anniversary. This is the 6th year we've done this. Our first trip we stayed five nights. As you can deduce, we enjoyed the experience.
    As the others have posted, sign up for the Catamaran Cruise at water sports. (Don't jump at the cliffs. No sense in chancing getting hurt on your vacation!)You'll also want a nice dinner at Otahetie, (I know I misspelled that) and / or Lychee. You'll meet a few staff members that you'll always remember; for us it's Elkie (last at Lychee), Tennyson and Lindon at the main bar, Ivylyn at the swim up bar, Amardo (formerly of the swim up bar, the gift shop, and now somewhere lost in the belly of the offices), and Julianne at breakfast. They'll help make your experience complete! This is to say nothing of how much fun you'll have with your bff! It's an experience that you'll have together and never tire of reminiscing. Relax and take it all in.

    Just remember to keep it jiggy, baby.
    Everytime. Without a doubt!!

    Likka more, mi frens...

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